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tv   [untitled]    August 22, 2012 3:30pm-4:00pm EDT

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life must be watching our t.v. show top stories serious conflict spreads further beyond its borders as people flee the violence into neighboring states fresh clashes between rebels in the south supporters in lebanon of left seven dead and dozens injured. one time the lawyers say they're big banned from bringing up alleged torture inside military tribunals and challenging as pretrial hearings for some of the nine eleven suspects the pedal start on thursday the notorious prison still open despite president obama's two thousand and eight election promise. and ecuador's foreign minister exclusively tells r.t. spanish his country will go as far as the hague defends asylum to julian assange he says this standing up to london and washington to protect freedom of speech. there is violence compounding the expert panel on artie's latest cross talk next look at
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the role of foreign players in the conflict here just moments from now. please. if you. want. a low end welcome to ground stop crime you know all about serious raging civil war without question this conflict has turned to a proxy war involving regional players in western powers as the civil war changed you politics of syria's neighbors will syria ever be the same again and who are the likely winner. if you. start.
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to discuss the syrian puzzle i'm joined by david swanson in charlottesville he's an author and blogger and in los angeles we crossed a christian with him he is the principal with d.c. international advisory and a former state department senior adviser hi gentlemen crossed the rules in effect that means you can jump in any time one question you got up early for this program so i'll go to you first this is turning into a proxy war and because it is a proxy war it will be poll long do you agree or disagree with that. well i'm not sure it's a proxy war and yet i mean the united states and other western powers are certainly on the side of the rebels now the french and the brits particularly outspoken president obama just coming in yesterday and defining a red line by which the united states itself would go to war he drew that red line over the use or movement of chemical weapons but certainly you've had jesting of major parties you've had the u.s. and russia cross swords in new york with russia and china delaying or obstructing
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action in the un security council and other powers sort of well you know when the right engine power is going to national power something with western powers want to do in syria let's be clear that's correct yes yes well you know something that would that would dislodge the assad government and bring pressure to bear on on assad i will talk about the future of the assad regime david what do you think about that i mean it is a proxy war in the west has chosen sides that will prolong this conflict. absolutely that's right not just saudi arabia and qatar but the united states the united kingdom and france are on one side in this war as russia and china are absolutely right to insist on resisting that effort and to propose a cease fire though wrong of course to be arming the assad regime as the as the powers on the other side are wrong to be arming the resistance just as the u.s. government was wrong several years ago to be sending our prisoners over to assad's
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regime to have him tortured them ok christian what do you think about the rebels ok are these jeffersonian democrats in your mind why are we supporting them why western powers has been the why are they supporting them to the extent they are and arming them by the way what. for a lot of questions there the you know throughout arab spring this has been the big question who the rebels are and i think it's important to realize they're diverse just as they're diverse in egypt iversen libya and now diverse here i mean there are some very unappealing elements among them including some al-qaeda although those numbers are probably pretty small there probably is a large contingent that is aligned with the muslim brotherhood which i'd argue is also very dangerous to the interests of countries who want a civilized order in the middle east going forward but a certain amount number of them and we've seen this in libya especially the new government in libya and perhaps hopefully in syria although maybe not probably in syria is a number of secular people who just want accountable government separation of
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mosque and state and ends to the repression that assad has had on syria and his father has had on syria you know david it seems to me that these rebel groups ok these different groups here they're all against assad but once he goes in he may eventually go it will just be everyone against everyone that's what it looks like to me. if he goes which is not at all clear it will be a chaotic disaster you will have the kurds seeking independence you will have a victory for a very mixed and divided group including many fanatical religious terrorists you have this odd situation of the u.s. government supporting as it did in afghanistan decades gone by religious fanatics. muslims against among others the christian groups in syria you are going to have bitter resentment from the assad supporters mean the opposition does not have the sort of public support it claims which is why you have
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these these threats to turn toward al-qaeda aligned groups if the the nato nations don't step up which is a threat that the u.s. and nato ought not to listen to we ought to pay close attention to an opposition that is considering and is in fact working with these types of groups right now i mean that if nothing else ought to be a red flag that says back off here ok christian what do you think about that the learning curve here is pretty flat afghanistan. well you know change is probably going to happen and again as with other provinces in arab spring you know with in the early days of egypt it was pretty clear that mubarak's days were numbered as the rebel army moves slowly across libya toward tripoli it was pretty clear that khadafi was going to go so the rest of the world can sort of make a choice either to try and manage and influence events in syria or we can just stand
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by laments the possibility that things will go terribly wrong and just let events run their course i'd argue that we should manage the way events goes in that frankly they have a way in examples. of the rebels what's a winning strategy because the path if the past it's only for the past is a guide you know the future doesn't look good because every single intervention has been a failure go ahead. not every intervention has benefited or certainly the mail operation in libya was this exist the libyan feel that way david go ahead you want to jump in please do. well libya is out of the new but it's not out of the chaotic rampaging of militant groups libya is not a democratic paradise with independence for its nation at this point neither is iraq neither is afghanistan neither are dozens of nations across latin america and
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asia i mean we have yet to have a successful intervention on its own terms unless we go back to japan and germany which were absolutely leveled and we haven't left yet i mean the idea that syria is going to be the exception to the rule is going to be the one place where we have military intervention from the west and it does the nation and the region good requires an extreme amount of evidence that we haven't seen yet and the idea that we have a choice of doing nothing or intervening with bombs from from nato planes is is absolutely outrageous we have the opportunity to pursue a cease fire to pursue negotiations to pursue disarmament. still in korean on regime do you really the sound we. face now is really not i. assume fairly well i think so my point is i thought i was going on one around. moscow i think that was negotiations. really. i think i think we tried this i think cofield
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on behalf of the united nations on behalf of the arab league when sip tea with assad numerous times he went talk to the iranians the chief sponsor and proxy of the syrians he said he had a cease fire assad said there was a cease fire and then there wasn't a cease fire you know going back though i think the way to to influence events in syria is to arm the rebels the factions of the rebels who are most secular alist and most against the islamists and if you look at places where we have done this where we've provided arms or directly aided freedom fighters you know things actually have worked out pretty well if you look at iraq if you look at afghanistan look at places like panama grenada you had dictatorships replaced by democracy now democracy is turbulent especially in its earlier years but the you know the key difference is that the people there are free now and look if you look at the most recent intervention in libya libya is going very well there are still problems
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there are still growing pains but you have a parliamentary democracy you have a new executive coming together who is not an islamized who wants accountability the separation of mosque and state even if they don't quite call it that so there's actually a very good record of giving people the means to defend themselves and to secure their own i mean that's i gave my preference on how do you think you know bombing people to democracy i think is absolutely outrageous with all due respect for someone in los angeles to declare for the iraqi people or the libyan people or the panamanian or grenadian people that they are better off when they say otherwise if you ask the people of iraq they will say they are worse off i mean we have destroyed that society we have ruined it ever and i'm sure they really really say and i'm sure and i'm in a ceremony and we have really missed noriega. ok christian go ahead i mean it is not doubt that the option is not love the dictator that we were supporting and
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decided to turn against or love the bombs these are not the two choices in the world you do not have to believe that saddam hussein was a good government in order to regret and condemn the years of bombing that have destroyed the nation of iraq chris you want to reply before we go to the break. the syrian people who are talking here the syrian people tried you know and i will probably hear from dissonant later on who have tried peacefully and through nonviolent resistance to change syria to create a democracy there but it just wasn't going to happen and i really didn't somebody down there with water or easily model receipt to syria why is it incumbent upon the united states france and britain to bring democracy to syria why. because we have no interest here because syria has. problems for the u.s. david you want to jump in syria a nation that has supported the. why why not
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assist the nations that are struggling nonviolently against the dictators that still have western support why in bahrain do we send some of our top cops over there to lead the cracking of the skulls while in syria we bemoaned the inability to pursue a nonviolent course that we have opposed at every turn. christian you before we go to the record syria of course. syria has killed great number of american troops in iraq they facilitated the flow of foreign fighters then they supply lines are terrorists they are perhaps the chief sponsor of has long with iran they are iran's mini me in the area they have they've they're building a nuclear so that's what it was obviously will change all of that imo the weapons they democracy will change all that now it's the this is the big i don't think it's that are arguing that it's as simple as that all right gentlemen we're going to go to a short break and after that short break we'll continue our discussion on syria stay
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with our team. my name is richard davis i'm an architectural photographer from london and i've been traveling in russia for the last ten years on a project photograph wooden chair choose obviously i fell in love with the trench in this extraordinary ok it's a beautiful opiates and the church is is a religious monumental obviously but it's also an object of wonder you know it's something that people can look at it opens their eyes it. will be achieved by using your imagination. to the cool life so always better down where it's wetter so get on board and check
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out world class cutters as they get a lightweight super strong make over while the giant floating glass prepares to charge one hundred splurge each to load up an hour to go and find a way to make waves with a brand new m.t.v. a supposed whatever your destination kids are right to tomorrow's water world today . the flu and colds started here before going global and now calling fire. choose your place. take your stand. to. make your statement. split the work place you put the
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street below. the from. the plane. welcome back to crossfire thank you about my job we're talking about the syrian civil war. and. plenty. and now we're joined by. day in london he's the director of the policy unit at the movement for justice and development does it bother you that the cia is again working with islamic fundamentalists and extremists in syria to bring democracy to the country. what in fact the west the united states and britain are actually in a sort of arms race against al-qaeda because the rebels in syria have openly stated
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that if they do not get rid of receive weapons from from the west advanced weapons like thinking missiles for instance that they will look towards al-qaeda and other terrorist organizations around the world to get good arms so the west is in a quite a difficult position because if they don't if they do not get arms then they're perceived not to have any leverage over these rebels and events in syria have proven that the s.n.c. the politicians have very little influence over what's happening inside the country in fact those who have influence are fighters inside syria and they come from different backgrounds some of them is their midst some of them less so and those people are demanding weapons so the united states and britain want to support those people in order to have any kind of leverage. with them not to have influence in any post assad syria ok christian so it's all about leverage what you say about that. i think it should be about leverage you know so far the united states hasn't provided arms i think that's
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a mistake i think we should reach out to them or basically just i'm going to. promise sees through proxies and they have gotten weapons american proxies saudi arabia etc turkey except i want to know how i would be honest i would avoid thinking that our eighty billion i would avoid saying that our eighty billion dollars a year intelligence community is all knowing and all seeing and all doing that could very well be as in libya gulf states and i'm glad they did it but gulf states providing weapons because they are directly affected by who wins this fight so it's not just the united states but you know i think it is important to realize that there are factions here unlike libya you don't have an overarching government in waiting as well he just pointed out there's a lot of different a lot of different groups but we should get in their work especially with turkey and jordan they're going to know more than we do about these different groups and since really is a vital interest of theirs and try and bias this against of the islamist against the extremists and certainly against al-qaeda david it looks like al qaeda is doing good you know having success in syria here is this because the west chose certain
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signs in this conflict. well you know the united states has made clear by unconstitutional presidential decree which is a separate problem that it is supporting with with resources these rebels in syria allowing other nations allied with the united states to provide the weaponry and that's the extent of our knowledge we don't know whether the united states is providing weaponry but we know that it's not too late for the united states to pull back to recognize that this has become so difficult on their own terms in the usual thinking that we have to do nothing or provide weapons and and our own military force that that it's not going to work there's no way it's going to work on its own terms and that if the united states wants to have influence it can have influence through working with the regional and international community to scale back to
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pursue a cease fire and to pursue a nonviolent settlement that is still within reach ok mt what do you think about that event still possible looks very unlikely if that possible. i think it's actually still possible but the important thing is russia has to exert a lot of influence on bashar. and he has to realize that there is no military solution to this that eventually that he will have to negotiate with the opposition at the same time the united states has to put a lot of pressure and really take some of these syrian opposition politicians teach them sort of politics one on one and teach them that they really have to build a constituency they have to come up with a workable demands and ultimately they will need to negotiate with bashar al assad not necessarily as the president of syria because i think he's he's lost that legitimacy right now but i think as the representative of the military establishment in the country which is the primary vehicle for the protection of minorities the serious minorities particularly the other words they they see the
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army as a chief vehicle by which their interests are preserved in the country so we will need to come to some sort of settlement with the military establishment because at the moment there are probably two over two hundred thousand. members of the armed forces who are unlikely to defect and they're probably going to fight to the bitter end. i can stay with you i mean these rebel groups do they really want to go she they don't i mean everyone blames assad fine ok but the rebel groups don't want to negotiate that's also part of the problem and it's not pointed out enough. well i think look i think there are bulls have been let down by their political leaders particularly those in the political opposition the s.n.c. and even those who outside the us and see i don't think those politicians have given people on the ground a vision for opposed syria a democratic vision at all in fact in fact these politicians have led from behind they've always been playing catch up with events and that's been very disappointing and in fact you know that al qaeda role which is increasingly becoming public in
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syria. the only thrives on on societies where particular sunni arab societies where the political leadership has broken down and we've seen that happen in iraq where saddam hussein sunni arabs were not able to build a cohesive political leadership that can negotiate with the united states and the shiites in iraq are i'm afraid the same things happening in syria right now christian if i go back you know our founders you think it's underestimated of six a carry in differences in the civil war particularly in western media when i think . no i think that they have been you know reasonably well appreciated of course there you know it's important to realize very various foreign powers interests in this in iran has an interest in supporting the alawite minority which is the shia minority and you know or iran is a shia government which is one of several reasons why they continue to back syria
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russia of course has its interest has a naval base at tartus so you know those are interest that aren't going away but the stepping back i think that the problem with negotiations is that assad has crossed several rubicons that just cannot be undone if you will once you've killed seventeen thousand eighteen thousand of your own people once you're facing sustained military operations by the rebels you know it's not just a ragtag disorganized army they're looking more organized they're holding ground intermittently in damascus more consistently in aleppo they have bases on the turkish border so it just looks like it's gone well past the phase and i should note earlier on in the war the rebels were willing to observe a cease fire the one that kofi annan supposedly got out of assad it's just that assad didn't comply he used the time to attack the rebels ok david if i go back to you i mean one of the reasons why the u.s. openly doesn't call for an invasion of the countries because the rebels themselves
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are committing atrocities and the u.s. and the west wants to keep their hands clean you agree with that. i think that's part of what's causing hesitation here and i think with this massive killing on both sides to say that the good side the rebel side cannot negotiate because the other side has killed people is is just irrational i think you're going to have to come to negotiations and you're going to have to negotiate with someone who has committed horrendous crimes and the other side is going to have to do the exact same thing. this is how you negotiate a settlement of a war and the longer it goes on the more deeply entrenched will become the ethnic and sectarian divisions and the harder it will be to ever negotiate a peaceful settlement you know it's the sooner the better and to and to start
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drawing red lines as the united states is doing threatening military invasion if certain types of weapons are used and so forth or to draw a line and say these people are so evil we will never negotiate with them it is is to advocate for war until the society is ruined ok christian you want to jump in go ahead well i think the most important thing is that the most humane way to end wars once they've gotten to the stage is to end them rapidly you know so far the preponderance of force has been on assad side same with the proponents of atrocities in fact i know none that the rebels have committed i'm not saying that hasn't happened but they seem to be conducting themselves remarkably well within the law of war considering their limited resources it's the assad forces who appear to have intentionally targeted noncombatants women children unarmed men so the best thing we can do for the people of syria is again to to locate among the factions the more secular realists arm them so that they can get this done with faster
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that's would stop the killing in libya it wasn't some grand bargain worked out by the un and people like kofi anon it was finally giving the rebels the means they needed to win on the ground ok mommy what do you think about that get it over with ok just kill people go ahead. well look i mean it really has been one year in london. i mean the west can of course intervene that's always an option i don't think it's an option right now i don't think that's in the cards but the west can intervene the west can topple bashar assad if it wants to but i'm afraid you know what will happen is the opposition will find out that it's actually somewhat of a pyrrhic victory because. the downfall of bashar assad may precipitate the disintegration of syria as a unitary state and i've always predict that this sort of almost a year ago that if the scholer said felt that he was about to fall from power i think he will resort to his own community to our community they are a majority in the coastal areas and they're likely to go their own way or the druze
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in the south also over the kurds are also gearing up for some sort of autonomy or self-government. also got a number of flood of cleavages within syrian society rural versus urban secular versus islamist and away versus sunni arab versus kurd also class divisions i mean serious aside it is rather complicated and there are more divisions than syrians would be happy to admit so i think the solution really is for syria's to be honest with themselves to have an honest and open dialogue with the support of the international community and to get away from the language of. accusing the other of being unpatriotic in the other of being a terrorist we need to get a move away from that and really have a constructive dialogue that's the only way to save syria as we know it otherwise if you know even if the opposition wins we may all still under losing. all right gentlemen we ended on a positive note surprisingly many thanks to my guest today in los angeles
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charlottesville and in london and thanks to our viewers for watching us here are to see you next time remember cross-talk will. start.
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